Pete Carroll won’t commit to Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks safety, facing Dallas Cowboys

NFL


RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll did not commit to Earl Thomas playing Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys after the All-Pro free safety didn’t practice for the second time this week despite apparently being healthy.

Thomas’ absences both Wednesday and Friday were listed as not injury-related. While Thomas was with the team Friday, Carroll cited an unspecified “personal” issue for him not practicing while giving brief and vague answers to questions about Thomas’ situation.

“Yeah, he couldn’t work today,” Carroll said.

Asked if there’s a chance Thomas won’t be able to play Sunday, Carroll said, “We’ll see how he’s doing, make sure he’s OK.”

Asked if his absence was injury-related, Carroll said, “No, he’s got some other stuff we’re working on.”

Carroll then answered in the affirmative when asked if it’s a personal matter with Thomas, saying that’s why he wasn’t elaborating.

Thomas returned from his holdout four days before Seattle’s opener at Denver, and he started that game and on Monday night at the Chicago Bears. Carroll said Thomas made it out of the Bears game fine after playing all but one defensive snap.

The curious situation with Thomas comes as the Seahawks (0-2) are preparing for their home opener against the Cowboys, the team that has been most connected to Seattle in a possible Thomas trade. It was after a Christmas Eve game at Dallas last season that Thomas, a Cowboys fan growing up, chased down coach Jason Garrett and told him to “come get me” if he were to become available.

Thomas declined to speak to reporters when approached Thursday in Seattle’s locker room.

Thomas, who is making $8.5 million in the final year of his contract, publicly urged the Seahawks during his holdout to trade him if they weren’t going to extend him. He cited the money he would stand to forfeit if he continued to hold out into the regular season — $500,000 each week in game checks — as the reason he returned.

But upon that return, Thomas showed all was not forgiven, at least not on his end. He wrote in an Instagram post that the “disrespect has been well noted and will not be forgotten.” When asked after the opener how burned the bridge is between he and the team might be with regards to Thomas potentially remaining in Seattle beyond 2018, he said, “I have no clue. I have no clue. All I can do is just put the best product out there as possible and protect myself until I do get paid.”

Asked if he’ll be able to put his contract dispute behind him and just play, Thomas said at the time, “I’m going to try to do the best I can, try to work my way through it. I’ve got a great team behind me.”

In addition to Thomas, the Seahawks could be without four other starters against Dallas.

Wide receiver Doug Baldwin (knee), left guard Ethan Pocic (ankle) and linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) have all been ruled out. Center Justin Britt (shoulder) is listed as questionable, along with linebacker Mychal Kendricks, although Carroll said the team thinks Kendricks will play despite a sore foot.

Carroll said the team didn’t want to overwork Kendricks in practice this week after he came down awkwardly on his foot. He was limited in practice over the past two days.

Kendricks, who is playing while appealing a suspension over his connection to insider trading, is replacing Wright at weakside linebacker. Wright missed the first two games following arthroscopic knee surgery, and Carroll indicated that he might be out a while longer when he said Friday that Wright’s recovery is “going slow.”

Carroll said Britt will be a game-time decision. Joey Hunt is his backup.

D.J. Fluker is expected to make his Seahawks debut after missing the first two games with a hamstring injury. His return will push J.R. Sweezy to left guard for Pocic. The Seahawks will get middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and right cornerback Tre Flowers back after they missed the Chicago game.

Baldwin will miss his second consecutive game due to the MCL injury he suffered in the opener. He didn’t practice this week, but Carroll was encouraged by how Baldwin has been running.

“Doug ran really well the last couple days,” Carroll said. “He’s going to take tomorrow off. I believe now he’s went four straight days. That’s a really good sign and he’s feeling really good about it. So I don’t know what to tell you about projecting that, but he was weaving and running and changing directions some and all that today, so he’s coming close.”



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